This movie, based on real-life events, is about a major scandal in Japan's banking industry, and an excellent cast, gorgeous cinematography, and strong direction keep the pace moving. I would compare it to The Insider, for the same sense of tension and magnitude of events that will ripple across an entire industry. Also as in The Insider, this movie includes a storyline about the press covering the scandal as it unfolds, and quietly comments on the ambiguous role the press plays during major events.
But the real heart of the movie is the terrific cast, especially the four middle managers headed by Kitano (Koji Yakusho). Kitano is a man well aware of his own weak points, yet he's ready to stand up for a cause in a time of crisis. Yakusho is always charismatic on screen, and here his strong presence works perfectly to bring to Kitano the magnetism that draws others to him while Kitano himself feels he's not a leader. Kitano's complex interactions with Sasaki (Tatsuya Nakadai) bring the movie some of its most memorable scenes.
Don't expect high emotional drama, but rather a build-up of drama over a tense atmosphere heightened by the movie's interesting cinematography and editing. By the end, it's hard not to be moved by the extraordinary story.
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